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Homemade flatbread
Main ingredientsFlour, water, salt

A flatbread is bread made usually with flour; water, milk, yogurt, or other liquid; and salt, and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened, although some are leavened, such as pita bread.

Flatbreads range from below one millimeter to a few centimeters thick so that they can be easily eaten without being sliced. They can be baked in an oven, fried in hot oil, grilled over hot coals, cooked on a hot pan, tava, comal, or metal griddle, and eaten fresh or packaged and frozen for later use.


Flatbreads were amongst the earliest processed foods, and evidence of their production has been found at ancient sites in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and the Indus civilization.[1]

In 2018, charred bread crumbs were found at a Natufian site called Shubayqa 1 in Jordan (in Harrat ash Shaam, the Black Desert) dating to 12,400 BC, some 4,000 years before the start of agriculture in the region. Analysis showed that they were probably from flatbread containing wild barley, einkorn wheat, oats, and Bolboschoenus glaucus tubers (a kind of rush).[2][3]

Primitive clay ovens (tandir) used to bake unleavened flatbread were common in Anatolia during the Seljuk and Ottoman eras, and have been found at archaeological sites distributed across the Middle East. The word tandır comes from the Akkadian tinuru, which becomes tannur in Hebrew and Arabic, tandır in Turkish, and tandur in Urdu/Hindi. Of the hundreds of bread varieties known from cuneiform sources, unleavened tinuru bread was made by adhering bread to the side walls of a heated cylindrical oven. This type of bread is still central to rural food culture in this part of the world, reflected by the local folklore, where a young man and woman sharing fresh tandır bread is a symbol of young love, however, the culture of traditional bread baking is changing with younger generations, especially with those who reside in towns showing preference for modern conveniences.[4][5]

List of flatbreads[edit]


Pane carasau from Sardinia
Lagana from Greece

Middle East and Africa[edit]

Georgian tonis puri
Different types of pita, Mahane Yehuda marketplace, Jerusalem
Yemeni lahoh

Central Asia[edit]

A selection of Tajik non (naan)
Afghan bread

East Asia[edit]

Taking Jingzhou-style guokui out of the oven

South Asia[edit]

Southeast Asia[edit]

Piaya flavored with ube (purple yam) and muscovado sugar


Preparing tortillas


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pasqualone, Antonella (March 2018). "Traditional flat breads spread from the Fertile Crescent: Production process and history of baking systems". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 5 (1): 10–19. doi:10.1016/j.jef.2018.02.002. hdl:11586/217814.
  2. ^ Colin Barras (21 July 2018). "Stone Age bread predates farming". New Scientist. 239 (3187): 6. Bibcode:2018NewSc.239....6B. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(18)31274-0.
  3. ^ Amaia Arranz-Otaegui; et al. (16 July 2018). "Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan". PNAS. 115 (31): 7925–7930. Bibcode:2018PNAS..115.7925A. doi:10.1073/pnas.1801071115. PMC 6077754. PMID 30012614.
  4. ^ Parker, Bradley J. (2011). "Bread Ovens, Social Networks and Gendered Space: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Tandir Ovens in Southeastern Anatolia". American Antiquity. 76 (4): 603–627. doi:10.7183/0002-7316.76.4.603. JSTOR 41331914. S2CID 163470937.
  5. ^ Takaoğlu, T. (2004). Ethnoarchaeological investigations in rural Anatolia. Cihangir, İstanbul: Ege Yayınları. (p7)
  6. ^ "What is Pinsa? - PMQ Pizza Magazine". www.pmq.com. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  7. ^ McCart, Melissa (11 September 2017). "The Roman Pinsa Is the New Pizza". Eater NY. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  8. ^ Rodolfo Toe (3 May 2013). "Sarajevo Bakery Braces for Ramadan Bonanza". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  9. ^ Celjo, Farah (27 March 2018). "Serbian crepes are just one reason to try Fabrika by Madera: SBS Food". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 5 September 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • 2005. "High-Profile Flatbreads - Say Goodbye to Insipid White Bread When Tortillas and Flatbreads Come to Town". FOOD PRODUCT DESIGN -NORTHBROOK-. 15, no. 1: 96–114. ISSN 1065-772X.
  • 2008. "Flatbreads Old World: Meets New Flatbreads from All Over the World-Including Tortillas, Arepas and Naan-Are the Newest Hot Ticket in Both Retail and Foodservice Products". FOOD PRODUCT DESIGN -NORTHBROOK-. 18, no. 11: 38–43.
  • 2008. "Storied Breads: With a Continuing Focus on Food Origin, Flatbreads Offer Manufacturers a Way to Tempt Consumers with Authentic Products Celebrating the Oldest-Known Bread Traditions". BAKING AND SNACK. 30, no. 7: 35–42. ISSN 1092-0447.
  • 2011. "Flat-Out in Love with Flatbread Here Are 5 Reasons Foodservice Is Smitten with Flatbreads". FOOD MANAGEMENT -NEW YORK THEN CLEVELAND OH-. 46, no. 11: 30–35. ISSN 0091-018X.
  • Alford, Jeffrey, and Naomi Duguid. Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker's Atlas. New York: W. Morrow, 1995. Summary: Recipes for more than sixty varieties of flatbreads along with 150 recipes for traditional accompaniments to the breads, including chutneys, curries, salsas, stews, mezze, smorgasbord, kebabs, etc.
  • Craddock, Anne. Textural Characteristics of Bagels and Ethnic Flatbreads. 1998. Thesis. 124 leaves.
  • German, Donna Rathmell. Flatbreads from Around the World. San Leandro, Calif: Bristol Pub, 1994.
  • Hansen, Eric. 2015. "Fabled Flatbreads of Uzbekistan." Aramco World. July/August 2015. Pages 32–39.
  • Helou, Anissa. Savory Baking from the Mediterranean: Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, and Other Breads. New York: William Morrow, 2007.
  • Kahlon, Talwinder Singh, and Mei-Chen Maggie Chiu. 2014. "Ancient Whole Grain Gluten-Free Flatbreads". Food and Nutrition Sciences. 05, no. 17: 1717–1724.